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Granato Is Suspended for Slashing : Pro Hockey: King wing will miss at least three games for hitting Chicago's Wilkinson over the head.

February 11, 1994|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tony Granato of the Kings has been suspended for at least three games and perhaps longer for slashing defenseman Neil Wilkinson of the Chicago Blackhawks at the Forum on Wednesday night.

League officials will not decide on the full terms of the suspension until Granato receives a hearing Tuesday. But he can't play until a review of the case is completed.

"What am I going to do?" Granato said after learning he will be a spectator when the Kings play the Mighty Ducks at Anaheim Arena tonight and Washington and Boston Saturday and Monday, respectively, at the Forum. "I'll do what I have to do and, hopefully, we'll win the games."

The slashing incident occurred with 4:57 left in the Kings' 4-2 victory. Granato and Wilkinson collided along the sideboards and Granato went down. Wilkinson stood over Granato and appeared to taunt him, though Granato later said he heard nothing.

As Wilkinson turned to skate away, Granato arose, gripped his stick with both hands and brought it down on Wilkinson's helmet.

Wilkinson fell to the ice, appearing to be seriously hurt. But he eventually arose and even got back in the game. Afterward, Wilkinson had a swollen jaw and said he had a ringing in his ears.

Granato, who was given a match penalty for a deliberate injury of an opponent, appeared to be in shock, telling teammates he wasn't even sure what happened.

A day later, he still wasn't sure.

"I don't remember it," Granato said Thursday. "It all happened so fast. I know I hit my head on the ice and I got up. But when I looked at the film, I couldn't believe what happened. I'm just glad (Wilkinson) was not hurt seriously."

After Wednesday night's game, Coach Darryl Sutter of the Blackhawks said Granato should be suspended for the rest of the season.

"I honestly don't know what will happen," Coach Barry Melrose of the Kings said. "There were extenuating circumstances that I hope the league takes into account. I hope Brian (Burke, the NHL's director of hockey operations) takes a look at the whole incident. The tape shows everything."

Like what?

"The hits and the taunting," Melrose said. "(Granato) got hit hard."

Melrose even found some good coming out of this for Granato, who has been in and out of the lineup because of a back injury.

"The rest might do him good," Melrose said. "His back has been sore but he has been playing through it. That's the way he is."

Times staff writer Lisa Dillman contributed to this story.

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